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Breakout Speakers

Adam Hodge

Adam S. Hodge, Ph.D., is an Active Duty Air Force Clinical Psychologist stationed at Wright-Patterson, Air Force Base. His research interests lie at the intersection of positive psychology and the psychology of religion and spirituality, with specific interests in the virtues of grace, humility, forgiveness, and gratitude.

Ann Smith

Ann has been working with trauma survivors for more than 15 years. She was introduced to Trauma Informed Care in 2015 and has been implementing and teaching those concepts since then. She has a passion to see people find wholeness and healing, and is excited to be at Trauma Free World team reaching people with a message of hope. Her primary role is to equip people globally to become Affiliate Trainers! In her spare time, she can be found drinking coffee with friends and enjoying nature.

Brandy Leyva

Brandy Leyva is a Wife, Mother, Small Business Owner and Adoptee. Originally born in South Korea, was raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and now calls Dallas, Texas home.

Chuck Hagele

Chuck has been the CEO of Project Patch since 2010. He presents on parent and teen topics like technology addiction, anxiety, and depression. He’s developed a 12-part video series entitled “Life Ready Kids”. He's been married to his wife Kelly since 1994, and they are adoptive parents to two girls and a boy. He holds a bachelor of arts in Theology with a minor in psychology, a master’s degree in business administration. He's an ICF Certified Professional Coach.

Cindy Lee

Cindy specializes in providing counseling services for children, adolescents and adults and is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the HALO Project. The HALO Project provides a 10-week intensive intervention program for children in foster care and/or children who have been adopted. Cindy has published a series of children books based upon the valuable lessons on Trust-Based Relational Intervention®, including Baby Owl Lost Her Whoo, It’s Tough to Be Gentle: A Dragon’s Tale, Doggie Doesn’t Know No and others.

Daniela Coats

Daniela Coats is a Licensed Master Social Worker in Texas. Daniela and her husband are parents to six children – four through adoption, and two by birth. Daniela’s parents also fostered when Daniela was a child, and later adopted her younger sister. While she has experience a variety of social work contexts, Daniela has spent most of her career working with foster and adoptive families in some capacity.

Daryl and Sara Van Tongeren

Daryl Van Tongeren, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of the Frost Center for Social Science Research at Hope College. Sara Showalter Van Tongeren is a licensed clinical social worker and founder of The Flourishing Collective. Together, they coauthored The Courage to Suffer, which provides a clinical framework for finding meaning amid suffering. They strive to help people flourish by embracing existential realities.

Derek Hamer

Derek was adopted from Kitale Kenya at 6 after living alone on the streets at 4. He just graduated from college and works in a mental health facility in Seattle. Raised in a multiracial family, he has a heart for justice and a desire to help adoptive parents meet the unique needs of their children from different cultures. Derek is passionate about following God’s plan for his life.

Erin Bouchard

Erin Bouchard is a foster, kinship, bio and adoptive mama from Ontario, Canada. Besides her own experiences as a parent, she has a degree in counselling and has worked for a private foster care agency. She’s on a mission to help foster & adoptive parents learn and understand early trauma and attachment and give them hope on their journey. When she’s not with her family, you’ll find her working on a new project, procrastinating on the work she actually needs to get done, or drinking coffee.

Ira Chasnoff

Ira J. Chasnoff, M.D., an award-winning author, researcher, and lecturer, is president of NTI Upstream in Chicago and Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at the University of Illinois College of Medicine. He is one of the nation’s leading researchers in the field of child development and the effects of prenatal substance exposure across the lifespan. Dr. Chasnoff is the author of numerous research articles and fifteen books. His most recent book, Guided Growth, has received international acclaim for its in-depth discussion of interventions for children and teens with prenatal substance exposure and early trauma.

Jason Johnson

Jason is a writer and speaker who encourages families, equips organizations and empowers churches on their foster care and adoption journeys.

He currently serves as the Director of Church Mobilization and Engagement with The Christian Alliance for Orphans. In his work he speaks and trains on church-based ministry structures and organizational leadership strategy. He also gets to encourage families that are in the trenches and those that are considering getting involved.

Jason and his wife, Emily live in Texas with their daughters. He has authored 4 books: Reframing Foster CareEveryone Can do SomethingALL IN Orphan Care and Effectively Engaging Churches and can be found at www.jasonjohnsonblog.com.

Jennifer Bracken

Jennifer Bracken is the mother to four children. Jennifer grew up in the foster care system and all four of her children have been child-welfare involved at one point in their lives. Jennifer has been clean 7.5 years, the longest consecutive stretch since she was a pre-teen which Jennifer calls the “proudest accomplishment” of her life. She hopes in telling her story that it will encourage others to see the humanity behind parents whose children are in foster care.

Jillana Goble

Five remarkable kids who have stretched and shaped me all call me Mom. Together, my husband and I have redrawn the picture of traditional family, grafting children from hard places – and their families – into our circle. Some stay for a season, and others for a lifetime.

Parenting is sacred work, and I honor each and every family who is taking on this task of loving and caring for children from hard places. Nobody slips through the cracks here, and it is my deepest desire to encourage, inspire, and walk with you through it all.

Jocelyn Sutton

Jocelyn Sutton is an OT and former special educator. She is a foster and adoptive mamma who has been implementing trauma informed practices for over 10 years. She is also an affiliate trainer for Trauma Free World and leads the Replanted Ministry for the Compass Church. Jocelyn is passionate about serving families in the adoption and foster care world and individuals with unique challenges. She and her husband Pete have seven children and two granddaughters.

John Gibson

John Gibson is a former competition team member at VALKO BJJ in Chicago, IL. Declared a ward of the state at the age of 5, John grew up in, and later “aged out” of, the U.S. foster care system (11 homes / 2 Group Homes). John reflects on the childhood abuse he survived and the resulting PTSD it caused with a positivity and hopefulness that enables him to connect with anyone facing adversity—young or grown—in a sincere and powerful way.

Julie Cooper

Julie Cooper researches, develops, and implements world-class, trauma-informed training to individuals and organizations – from church staff and professionals to teachers and caregivers. Through her previous professional experience in residential and crisis care, foster care, adoption, and court-appointed advocacy, as well as being a foster and adoptive parent to more than 20 children, Julie draws upon her hard-earned personal and professional experience to provide accessible trauma training that anyone can use, regardless of background of education.

Justin Black

Justin Black is an author, speaker, and serial entrepreneur. He is a part of Forbes Next 1000 Entrepreneurs for 2021. He published an award winning, bestselling book titled Redefining Normal: How Two Foster Kids Beat The Odds and Discovered Healing, Happiness and Love. With the Redefining Normal company, they hope to continue the conversation on healthy relationships, generational success, and community growth.

Kathy Boger

Kathy Boger, Adoption Coach: Kathy is an adoption coach and founder of Embracing Adoption (www.embracingchildadoption.com ).  She was raised with a brother who was adopted, so understands a forever family from a sibling’s perspective. Years later she and her husband Lee adopted their son, David from Romania when he was four years old. He joined their two bio daughters, all of whom are adults now.  In addition to coaching adoptive parents and adult adoptees, and speaking at conferences, Kathy volunteers as a CASA and with Care Portal.  She recently traveled to Mumbai, India to conduct an adoption workshop and currently hosts a monthly Zoom support group for adoptive parents around the world.  Kathy truly had a genuine passion for families built through adoption.

Meredith Shuman

Meredith Shuman is the founder of James Trail, an organization supporting the unique needs of foster and adoptive families and organizations who serve them. Meredith has over 28 years of experience serving as a therapist, trauma-informed trainer, and as a mom. She holds a MSW from the University of Texas at Arlington. She and her husband Dan, a global health physician have 5 children, 4 of whom are adopted.

Mike Gallagher

Mike Gallagher and his wife, Mandy have six beloved children. Their youngest three children were adopted, one daughter domestically and boy and girl twins from Uganda. Mike and Mandy Gallagher co-founded Chosen & Dearly Loved in 2014, empowering families in special needs adoptions. In 2019, they launched the global family reunification and family strengthening initiative, 1MILLIONHOME. Mike currently serves as Chief Executive Officer. Mike has served on the Leadership Council of the Christian Alliance For Orphans (CAFO) and the International Advisory Board of YWAM Kona / University of the Nations. He was as a founding Board member of Ekisa Ministries International. He previously served as CEO of Educational Outfitters, a U.S. franchisor of school uniform retailers, and as a Managing Director of Denver-based private equity firm, Gallagher Industries. He most loves Jesus, the Word of God and being a husband and father.

Pam Shepard

Pam Shepard is the Supervisor of Clinical Services at Holt International and an LCSW. Pam has worked in child welfare her entire career (over 25 years) including foster care case management, adoption social work, birth parent counseling and is now a therapist and trainer. Pam has been trained in several therapy modalities and is a TBRI Practitioner and Mentor. Pam also directs the Journey of Hope TBRI family camp.

Ryan and Kayla North

Ryan North is the co-founder of One Big Happy Home and creator of The Empowered Parent Podcast, a popular resource for practical strategies on raising children with trauma and attachment issues. He is a recognized expert on childhood trauma, TBRI Practitioner, and develops training materials for parents, schools, churches, and child-placing agencies. Ryan is a sought-after speaker and is known for his engaging and practical approach.

Kayla North is a passionate advocate for adoption and foster care, known for her roles in One Big Happy Home and The Empowered Parent Podcast. As the co-founder of One Big Happy Home, she provides vital support, education, and resources to families navigating adoption and foster care journeys. Kayla, a TBRI practitioner, draws from over a decade of experience, offering practical strategies for parents dealing with trauma and attachment issues. Her impactful work extends to speaking engagements nationwide, inspired by her own journey as an adoptive parent of six children, four from foster care.

Scott Watters

Scott Watters is a therapist in Texas who specializes in counseling individuals of all ages who have experienced trauma. He is a Trust-Based Relational Intervention® (TBRI®) Practitioner and mentors TBRI® Practitioners in training.

Scott and his wife Sarah have been adoptive parents for 14 years and are recent empty-nesters. They love to travel, empower their children, and play with their precious grandchildren.

Susan TeBos

Susan TeBos is the author of "We've Been There: True Stories, Surprising Insights, and Aha Moments for Adopted Teens." She is mom to Nickolai, Matthew, and Lera all adopted from Russia and now in their early 20's. Married to Mike for 27 years, the family enjoys the stunning beaches in Northern Michigan. All make their home in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Tabitha Goldsmith

Tabitha Goldsmith is a Life & Health Coach, mom of 8 young kids, business owner and foster/adoptive parent.

Graduating from CMU with a degree in Health Promotion and Rehabilitation with a Dietetics minor, she has 23 years experience in the fitness industry. Now she coaches on small, doable shifts in habit change and mindset work, to get lasting results without the all or nothing thinking. Just the healthy lifestyle God created us to enjoy.

Tamekia Swint

Tamekia Swint is an entreprenuer who wears many hats. As a wife, mom, hair stylist, and instructor, she exudes a deep passion for all things hair! In 2010, Tamekia founded Styles 4 Kidz, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing textured hair care resources, services, and education for children in the transracial adoptive, foster, and biracial community. Her commitment lies in helping kids not only look good but also feel fantastic through beautiful hairstyles.

In Chicago

Be a part of our live audience at The Compass Church in Naperville, IL with teaching, worship, breakouts, pampering, connection, and more!